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Dr Stankovic: I have no intention of closing

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MASSENA - Dr. Miljan Stankovic said Friday afternoon he wants to ensure his patients he’s not going out of business and he plans to continue seeing patients at his 50 Old River Road home.

“I’m staying here. I’m practicing in a new location, but I have no plans of closing,” he said.

Dr. Stankovic’s new location has been a matter of controversy as the zoning board has twice rejected his proposal, with the New York State Supreme Court ruling his application was rejected for invalid reasons.

“I hope the town will realize that they misread the code,” he said. “After breaking the 62 day deadline, I was automatically approved.”

Dr. Stankovic said he feels that the fact that the board failed to rule on his application within 62 days makes any argument about the type of equipment he can have or anything else invalid.

“The planning board had ample opportunity to address any issues related to equipment and they failed to do so,” he said. “They referred me to the zoning board, which decided on an argument that was overturned by the state supreme court.”

That argument, Dr. Stankovic, explained was over the number of employees he would be allowed to have in his office.

Since he began seeing patients at his home several weeks ago, Dr. Stankovic said the number of patients he sees has actually increased.

“We’ve got a lot of new patients because they enjoy the location and the way the office looks and functions,” he said from his home office, which has a panoramic view of the St. Lawrence River. “The feedback I’ve received has been magnificent.”

Dr. Stankovic said his home is in a neighborhood that is right now a mix of businesses and residential properties and as for the privacy issues that a neighbor brought up at one of the meetings Dr. Stankovic said those issues have been addressed.

“The privacy issues that were brought up at one of the meetings have been 99 percent resolved,” he said, explaining he’s constructed a privacy fence along the perimeter of his property.

Dr. Stankovic said right now he’s waiting to see when the zoning board will meet to discuss and rule on his request for a third time.

While Dr. Stankovic said he knows what the decision should be, he’s not sure if his request will ultimately be approved.

“I hope that we don’t have to waste any more of the taxpayer’s money or my money on legal expenses, as this may drag all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court,” he said. “It doesn’t make sense to spend $1 on legal fees fighting this.”

Dr. Stankovic said he would like to see the town government step in and say enough is enough.

“In the past five years a lot of people in Massena have lost their insurance, and we are providing care to a majority of them, frequently at no charge,” he said. “Right now medical patients in Ogdensburg and Potsdam are scrambling to find a physician who will see them and they come to Massena because I will.”

He also said with the economy in Northern New York the way it is it’s difficult to even get doctors to practice in St. Lawrence County.

Town Supervisor Joseph D. Gray said at this time the town board has no plans of getting involved in the dispute.

“It’s unfortunate that it’s come to this,” Mr. Gray said. “The doctor knew there was a process that he chose to overlook. I hope that doesn’t cloud the decision making process.”

Mr. Gray, who noted there are several other businesses in the neighborhood, said perhaps the best thing would be for everyone to take a break from the case.

“I would hope that everyone will take the time to cool off, including Dr. Stankovic, take a step back and let the process follow its course.”

As for Dr. Stankovic, he said he’s going to continue running his office the same way he always has.

“Right now we’re seeing patients from all over the county and beyond and that’s not going to change,” he said, adding he’s accepting new patients.

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